Food Idioms | List of Food Idioms With Meaning and Examples

Food Idioms: Food is among the basic necessities in our everyday lives. Everyone needs to consume food to live, and food is also something that is loved by everyone. There exists a wide variety of different food items that are present in other parts of the world. This article consists of all the trendy food phrases that are required by people while holding a conversation.

It sometimes might happen that you come across certain food metaphors that are unknown to you. To eliminate such issues, this list of food idioms containing various cooking idioms and dinner idioms will come in handy. One can use these idioms with their exact meanings in conversations and make a good impression of themselves before their colleagues, friends, and family.

Enrich your Vocabulary by practicing the English Idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversations and understand their actual meaning.

Name of Food Idioms

List of Food Idioms

Meaning and Examples of some commonly used Food Idioms


Meaning: This idiom is used when one buys something that has either worthless or has significantly less value when compared to the original value.

Example: The deal was pretty good, but the shopkeeper was cunning and sold him a lemon.

Big cheese

Meaning: To refer to highly influential people since they hold a lot of power and authority.

Example: The new colleague understood that the assistant manager of the company was the big cheese.

Butter up

Meaning: When one is flattered and praised excessively to ask something in return.

Example: Sara kept buttering up her mom to go to the movies with her friends.

In a nutshell

Meaning: When one says something in a very compact manner by just highlighting the main points.

Example: The manager was impressed by the presentation prepared by Sam since he presented the vast deal in a nutshell very impressively.

Hot potato

Meaning: Refers to a sensitive and controversial issue that everyone wants to avoid and nobody wants to deal with.

Example: The death of the 15-year-old became a hot potato within society.

Piece of cake

Meaning: Something that is very easy and simple.

Example: For Jeonghan, convincing the captain with his charms was a piece of cake.

Spice things up

Meaning: This idiom is used when one wants to make things exciting and interesting.

Example: After a tiresome week, Akaashi decided to spice things up in his life.


Meaning: To propose something in an enjoyable manner that is also acceptable easily.

Example: After her messy divorce, her family tried to sugarcoat any and every bad news they had to tell her.

food idioms 1

Worth one’s salt

Meaning: To refer to someone good at what they do.

Example: The trip advisor hired by the family was worth their salt.

Forbidden fruit

Meaning: Something that is illegal and immoral and is not allowed lawfully.

Example: Even though wine was forbidden fruit for the 15-year-old Regina, she still sneaked out of her house to have some with her friends.

Cook someone’s goose

Meaning: To do something that ensures the failing of another individual’s plan.

Example: I will not help Karen in the project, and by doing that, I will cook her goose.

Too many cooks spoil the broth

Meaning: This phrase is used when many people try to do one individual work and hence end up ruining the entire thing.

Example: The whole class decided to participate in dancing, but their teacher told them to participate in different things because too many cooks spoil the broth.

Sour grapes

Meaning: When one is unable to attain something and hence gets annoyed and starts to despise that thing.

Example: When Amelia said she hates very fitting clothes, Teddy understood that sour grapes were the case.

One can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs

Meaning: For attaining something, one has to do something unpleasing according to them and others.

Example: Chloe came to win the competition, but her best friend did not. This made Chloe realize that one can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

Egg on one’s face

Meaning: To be embarrassed about something one did.

Example: Derek had an egg on his face when he failed to show up on time after threatening everyone to be on time.

Use your noodle

Meaning: To make use of one’s intellect, logic, and sensibility before doing something.

Example: After John failed the second time, his teacher asked him to use his noodles and not slack off before the exam.

Have one’s cake and eat it too

Meaning: This idiom means to enjoy the good parts of certain things without suffering or going through the bad parts.

Example: Will wanted to have Henry’s cake and eat it too since he decided to cheat in the exam and get good marks by copying Henry’s answers.

All sizzle and no steak

Meaning: Someone or something that does not matches its description and turns out to be pretty bad.

Example: When my online dress arrived, I understood it was all sizzle and no steak.

A few sandwiches short of a picnic

Meaning: This phrase refers to someone who is less intelligent and is quite stupid and dumb.

Example: Olivia again lost her purse in the subway. She is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

As sour as vinegar

Meaning: To refer to something that is very sour or someone who is very ill-tempered and unpleasant.

Example: The rice became stale and now tastes as sour as vinegar.

Have a bigger fish to fry

Meaning: When someone is not interested or focused on a particular thing because they have other things that are much important to take care of.

Example: He refused to go to the amusement park and his friends since he had a bigger fish to fry.

Half a loaf is better than none

Meaning: This phrase indicates that having something small and minimal is still better than having nothing.

Example: On Clarissa’s 21st birthday, she got a bike instead of a car, but hey, as some people say, half a loaf is better than none.

Not for all the tea in China

Meaning: Refusing to perform an activity or doing a job even if something good is given to you in return.

Example: Benjamin made it clear that he would not take care of the kids for all the tea in China.

Walk on eggshells

Meaning: Being very conscious and alert about one’s behavior around someone may get upset or annoyed easily.

Example: Richard had to walk on eggshells in front of the principal.

There’s no such a thing as free lunch

Meaning: This idiom means that everything requires some payback and nothing is for free.

Example: Gina got herself a six-week holiday, but she had to work double shifts to make up for her loss. It is true when people say that there is no such thing as free lunch.

Eat like a horse

Meaning: When one overeats since they have a large appetite.

Example: During her pregnancy period, she ate like a horse.

As nutty as a fruitcake

Meaning: To refer to someone who is very weird and downright crazy.

Example: I feel like my neighbor is as nutty as a fruitcake since they wear sweaters even during summer.

For peanuts

Meaning: This expression indicates a situation where people are willing to do an activity or a job in exchange for very minimal pay.

Example: The employee was really in need, and hence he agreed to do the job for peanuts.

Pie in the sky

Meaning: This refers to an idea or a plan that is quite unlikely to happen.

Example: Jake always wanted to become a detective, but now it seems like a pie in the sky.

food idioms 2

Don’t cry over spilled milk

Meaning: This idiom means that being upset and sad about something that has already occurred and is unalterable is futile.

Example: The orange juice ruined Georgia’s dress and her mood, but Joe said, “don’t cry over spilled milk.”

Carrot top

Meaning: Used to refer to an individual whose hair is either red or orange.

Example: Since Amelia had red hair, she was confident that her kid would be a carrot top.

Not my cup of tea

Meaning: Something that an individual or a group of individuals has no liking for.

Example: The comedy movie chosen by my friend was not my cup of tea.

Spill the beans

Meaning: This phrase refers to a situation where one discloses a secret or a surprise before the right time.

Example: Finn was very skeptical about letting Meredith know about the surprise because she always ended up spilling the beans.

Cool as a cucumber

Meaning: Someone who is very serene, calm, and tranquil.

Example: Jake was loved by everyone since he was always cool as a cucumber.

Apple of one’s eye

Meaning: This idiom refers to someone whom one adores, cherishes, and loves more than they love others.

Example: There was no doubt that the apple of her eyes was her eldest son Tim.

Bad egg

Meaning: Someone who is displeasing, dishonest, and fails to live up to one’s expectations.

Example: Even though Ross was the rotten egg in the group, the whole group got punished.

One rotten apple spoils the barrel

Meaning: This phrase indicates that only one dishonest and displeasing person is required to ruin an entire group or situation.

Example: There was only one delinquent in the class, but as people say, only one rotten apple spoils the barrel.

Rotten to the core

Meaning: Someone who is highly demoralized and dishonest.

Example: Justin was a criminal who was rotten to the core.

Half baked

Meaning: A situation, idea, or a plan that is not carried out or thought out entirely with proper planning.

Example: The idea proposed by Ryan was not entirely unpleasant, but it was rejected because it was half-baked.

Hard nut to crack

Meaning: Used to refer to someone or something hard and complex to handle or understand.

Example: Even though Kevin was a hard nut to crack, his friend’s group tried their best and convinced him for the road trip.

Couch potato

Meaning: Someone who is highly lethargic, inactive, and spends most of the day sitting on a couch and watching television.

Example: During the period of lockdown, my cousin has turned into a couch potato.

Small fry

Meaning: This expression refers to someone or something unimportant and minor.

Example: Even though all the criminals the new officer arrested were small fries, it still required courage.

Like two peas in a pod

Meaning: This idiom says that two individuals or things are very similar or parallel to one another.

Example: Even though the twins looked different, they acted like two peas in a pod.

Life is just a bowl of cherries

Meaning: This phrase means that life is full of surprises, joy, delight, and pleasure.

Example: Jim got the love of his life, bagged himself a great job, and got a beautiful house, all in two weeks. He relished and realized that, indeed, life is just a bowl of cherries.

The cherry on the cake

Meaning: This means to upgrade something to an even better level than it already was by adding a finishing touch.

Example: Clara’s perfect curls became the cherry on the cake for her already ideal look.

Acknowledge the corn

Meaning: To admit to a small mistake or error that one did.

Example: Ryan decided to acknowledge the corn and apologize to his neighbors for breaking their windows while playing baseball.

Bring home the bacon

Meaning: To go out and earn the minimum money required for living.

Example: After his father’s death, he had to bring home the bacon for his family.

Full of beans

Meaning: This expression refers to an individual or a group of individuals who are very bubbly and active and are full of life.

Example: The girl’s group was full of beans regarding their road trip.


Meaning: Used for referring to someone smart and nerdy.

Example: The head boy of our school was a bit of an egghead

Grain of salt

Meaning: This idiom means to view something untrue and to mislead with skepticism and dubiousness.

Example: The judge listened to the claims with a grain of salt.

Cream of the crop

Meaning: Something that is best and rich among its variety.

Example: Among all the dresses Pam saw, the blue one seemed to be the cream of the crop.

Gravy train

Meaning: When an individual or a group of individuals receive excessive benefits and money without any particular reason.

Example: The directors of the office were on the gravy train since their bonuses were high.

One smart cookie

Meaning: To refer to someone who is intelligent and clever and hence makes good choices.

Example: Gina may have average looks and seem stupid, but she’s one smart cookie.

Put all your eggs in one basket

Meaning: This phrase means that one should not centralize all their work in one particular area since it is hazardous, and they might lose everything.

Example: Kelly is applying to many universities since she does not want to put all her eggs in one basket.

Sell like hot cakes

Meaning: When something is being sold in huge quantities quickly with very minimal effort.

Example: The apple pie in the bake sale was being sold like hotcakes.

That’s the way cookie crumbles

Meaning: This idiom indicates that a situation will remain as it is, and it must be accepted in that way only.

Example: After finishing high school, she had to attend college. There was no point in being upset since that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

In a pickle

Meaning: Being in an exceptionally troublesome and messy situation.

Example: After their car broke down, it started raining, and the whole group of friends was in a pickle.

Finger in every pie

Meaning: When one is involved in everything and influences things or shows interest towards everything.

Example: In the school concert, Dimple has a finger in every pie. It isn’t enjoyable.

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